June 29 is the day that my husband...as an 8 year old little boy...trusted Jesus to take him to Heaven. He asked Him to forgive his sins and rested in the promise Jesus gave. John 3:16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...that whosoever believes in Him should not perish (eternally) but have everlasting life.
Last night as we were tucking the boys in bed I read one page of the children's version of "Heaven is For Real". (Haven't read the book? Do. It's beautiful and backed by scripture). The kids were spell bound. So we were started talking about why Heaven is wonderful and I asked the kids "how do you know?" for everything they told me. I wanted them to really think about how they know what they so deeply believed. They would stop and think and then someone would say "ohh...because God says so!" So I asked "how do you know God can't tell a lie?" and they would think. Hmmm.. Then I read the verse that says "God cannot lie" and they were all in awe.
Chazano was looking terrified during this entire conversation. I was 'ignoring' it and just kept talking. Finally he said "mama...I don't know if I'm going to Heaven" so we talked about why people go to Heaven. I went to great lengths in dramatic fashion (intriguing 4 little boys) about how Heaven is perfect and no sin can go there. After each boy realized 'yup...I've sinned before', I said how God had an amazing idea. If someone could pay for the sin....then He could forgive it. The only thing was the person who could pay for the sin...would #1...have to be sin-less. Never ever had sinned. And #2 they would have to die to pay for the sin. So they were all sitting on the edge of their beds. So I said "good news...Mama loves you so much I'll do it! I'll die so you can go to Heaven". They let that sink in and so I said "ok what were the 2 things God required?" 1. Sinless. 2. would have to die. So is mama sinless? They really had to think it was cute. I'm like "ok I'll volunteer...No mama is not sinless" and we talked about that. So Tirzah was sitting there and I said "Tirzah would you do it?" she looked up sheepishly. We went around the room asking if Tirzah had ever sinned and it didn't take long to agree she indeed...had. So we mentioned Papa! Papa preaches about Jesus...he's a GOOD GUY! What about Papa? Nope Papa sins too. So I let it all sink in. There's no one. :( Zion piped up and said "yes there is..Jesus never sinned!" So we talked about Jesus. He came. He lived. He never sinned. Ever. Never sneaked a candy and ran outside under the slide to eat it without his mama seeing (Azlan smirked). He never wacked his sister in the head (they all smirked). He never sinned. Ever. He was the only one that could pay for the sin. So one of the kids asked "why do some people go to Hell?" well b/c they don't want Jesus. They don't think they need Him and they go their own way. Someone has to pay. Jesus...or you. They were fully absorbing every word. To go to Heaven...is to have Jesus as your ticket. I sinned...He paid my way! I want Him as my savior. Chazano right away piped up and said "I want Him. I want Him to wash my sins away." Again I didn't jump on it and kept talking. He brought it up again and said "can I ask Him to save me Mama?" so I said "do you want to pray?" he started praying. For Chazano ... it was a very heart felt prayer. He said "God I'm so sorry I've done some bad things. I'm sorry there's no one else to pay my way and that Jesus did. I want to thank you that Jesus paid for my bad things. That makes me so happy that I can go to Heaven. Thank you that Jesus will come inside to help me do good things. If I do bad things I will say I'm sorry to You. I'm really excited about Heaven God. Really...really. I think it will be fun. But most of all...I 'm really really really excited about looking at Jesus. I can't wait. Amen".
He was beaming from ear to ear.
We tucked them into bed and I said "Chazano why don't you go tell Daddy?" so he jumped out to tell Daddy. I couldn't help but noticed Zunduka. He was staring off in space. Often at me. I kept 'ignoring' it. One time he put his hand up as if he was trying to say something then turned away. So I said "I love you Duka...have a good sleep" and he said "mama I really want to pray to God" again 'sluffing it off' I said "oh we already prayed" he said "no I want to pray and ask for my sins forgiven." He was so serious. I said "go ahead you can pray" and he sat up and started praying. "I'm so thankful you died for me. I don't have to go to Hell because Jesus offered to pay for my sin because He didn't have any of his own. Thank you" and that was pretty much it. Duka is very articulate when he prays and this was very short. He opened his eyes and was shining. I tucked him in and turned out the lights.
This morning Duka said "mama I had the best sleep I've ever had last night. I closed my eyes and I slept".
At 8 years old....Dean trusted Christ June 29. Fast forward 27 years to the same night. Who knew that we would have 2 little boys from the heart of Africa as our sons...that on this same night...would trust Jesus to take them to Heaven. The same Grace that was extended to their Daddy as a boy...would be extended to them. They were born on the same day. Moments apart. Zunduka first. In the bush to a dying mother. Very little hope for their lives. And here almost 8 years later....Chazano would first trust Jesus and his 'older' brother would follow. Oh He makes beautiful things. Beautiful things out of our dust.
Dean and I laid on our pillows with a sigh. Tirzah got saved last summer in the Fred Meyer parking lot. Zion last year as he laid on his pillow one night. Chazano and Zunduka last night. I talk a lot about God 'bringing orphans home'...and He is. And we are humbled to be a part of that. But it's so much bigger...He is really bringing orphans home. Each one of us...spiritual orphans. And the God of the universe adopts us into His family and we "become the sons of God". He becomes our Father.
He makes beautiful things.
Out of the dust.